By Molly Lauryssens
Mikhaila Nodel Kishner is a 17-year-old high-school senior in Brooklyn, N.Y., and her fave subject is art. So one day while on her bedroom floor doing a doodling session, she created Cosmic Cuties. In Mikhaila’s own words?
“Kickass space girls who fight sexism throughout the universe, they stand for feminism, body acceptance, and self love!”
What started as a doodle has morphed into regular editions of online ’zines at cosmiccuties.com. Cosmic Cuties are potent and insightful messengers, as Mikhaila boldly tackles some tough issues that girls and women face in our world today. But Mikhaila wants to make something clear about her views on feminism. “It’s not about hating men at all; it’s about supporting equality for women. A feminist is just someone who believes that women should have equal rights—that’s it.”
Mikhaila says that as she learned more about feminism and began adopting its ideals, her self-confidence grew. “I believe that not loving yourself is somewhat supporting the patriarchy. I realized that girls’ insecurity is a function of the patriarchy and basically a big part of what keeps it in power, so I started loving myself to defy it.”
Mikhaila attests to the pervasiveness of body dissatisfaction among her peers. “I think most teenage girls struggle with body image, including some of my friends. It’s really unhealthy to compare yourself with other girls, especially physically. It can become obsessive almost.” Her point is well taken—every girl is uniquely beautiful, inside and out, so it’s important to feel comfortable in your own skin.
“I am a huge believer in self love and confidence, and just thought it would be a cool project to incorporate those ideas in my art,” Mikhaila says. Her hope, ultimately, is that Cosmic Cuties help girls feel better about themselves.